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Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

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Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

4/5 (23 ratings)
313 pages
3 hours
Jan 2, 1998


Written by Scribd Editors

Companion planting is a huge part of gardening culture that has never been fully explored. Even at the time of this book's publication we are only on the cusp of potential knowledge, trying our best to understand why plants act and grow the way they do. Plants love to assist one another, and by planting plants in a specific pattern you can alleviate a lot of the common problems you'll typically have while gardening. Some plants repel insects, others repel specific plants, and some boost the growing of neighboring plants...

Planting the perfect garden is easier than you think, and if you utilize the information found in Carrots Love Tomatoes you can design the perfect planting scheme. Louise Riotte will inspire you with her magic touch, helping turn your garden into a healthy, self-nurturing ecosystem.
Jan 2, 1998

About the author

Beloved author and life-long gardener Louise Riotte passed away in 1998 at the age of 89. During her life, she wrote twelve books on gardening, companion planting, and garden lore, among them the ever-popular Carrots Love Tomatoes. Her father taught her how to practice astrology, while her mother was an herbalist. Together they greatly influenced her life and her books, including Roses Love Garlic, Astrological Gardening, Sleeping with a Sunflower, Catfish Ponds & Lily Pads, and Raising Animals by the Moon. Riotte was an artist as well as a writer, and her own drawings appear in all of her books. She took great pride in her garden near her home in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

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Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte



Louise Riotte

The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by

publishing practical information that encourages

personal independence in harmony with the environment.

Edited by Julia Needham and Deborah Burns

Cover design by Meredith Maker

Cover illustration by Linda Devito Soltis

Text design by Cynthia McFarland

Text production by Eileen M. Clawson

Line drawings by the author

Indexed by Susan Olason, Indexes & Knowledge Maps

© 1975, 1998 by Storey Publishing, LLC

Cover illustration © Linda Devito Soltis

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages or reproduce illustrations in a review with appropriate credits; nor may any part of this book be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other — without written permission from the publisher.

The information in this book is true and complete to the best of our knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author or Storey Publishing. The author and publisher disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information. For additional information please contact Storey Publishing, 210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247.

Storey books are available for special premium and promotional uses and for customized editions. For further information, please call 1-800-793-9396.

Printed in the United States by Versa Press

30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Riotte, Louise.

Carrots love tomatoes : secrets of companion planting for successful gardening

/ Louise Riotte. — 2nd ed.

p. cm.

A Storey Publishing book.

Rev. ed. of : Secrets of companion planting, © 1975.

Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.

ISBN 978-1-58017-027-7 (alk. paper)

1. Companion planting — Dictionaries. 2. Companion crops —

Dictionaries. 3. Gardening — Dictionaries. 4. Plants, Useful —

Dictionaries. I. Riotte, Louise. Secrets of companion planting. II. Title.

S603.5.R56 1998

635 — dc21



Table of Contents




Wild Plants

Grasses, Grains, and Field Crops

First Steps for Home Fruit Growing


Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Garden Techniques

Soil Improvement

Pest Control

Poisonous Plants

Garden Plans


Suggested Reading



The magic and mystery of companion planting have intrigued and fascinated humans for centuries, yet it is a part of the gardening world that has never been fully explored. Even today we are just on the threshold. In years to come I hope that scientists, gardeners, and farmers everywhere will work together in making more discoveries that will prove of great value in augmenting the world’s food supply.

Plants that assist each other to grow well, plants that repel insects, even plants that repel other plants — all are of great practical use. They always have been, but we are just beginning to find out why. Delving deeply into this fascinating aspect of gardening can provide for us both pleasure and very useful information. I hope that what I have written here will give you many of the tools to work with.

Vegetable growers find that companion planting provides many benefits, one of which is protection from pests. A major enemy of the carrot is the carrot fly, whereas the leek suffers from the onion fly and leek moth. Yet when leek and carrot live together in companionship, the strong and strangely different smell of the partner plant repels the insects so much that they do not even attempt to lay their eggs on the neighbor plant. They take off speedily to get away from the smell. This is why mixed plantings give better insect control than a monoculture, where many plants of the same type are planted together in row after row. Even when plants are affected by diseases, a mixed plant culture can usually alleviate the situation.

It is important to remember that not all protective botanicals act quickly. For example, marigolds, to be effective in nematode control, should be grown over at least one full season, and more is better, for their effect is cumulative. One should also realize that certain companion plants will diminish each other’s natural repelling ability as they grow together. All through this book you will find what to grow with and "what not to grow with." Both are equally important to gardening success.

The effects of plants on one another are important outside the vegetable garden, among trees and shrubs as well as grains, grasses, and field crops. These have chapters to themselves, as do herbs, the group of plants most widely used as protective companions.

Wild plants also play a vital part in the plant community. Some are accumulator plants — those that have the ability to collect trace minerals from the soil. They actually can store in their tissues up to several hundred times the amount contained in an equal amount of soil. These plants, many of which are considered weeds, are useful as compost, green manure, or mulch. Some are deep diggers, sending their roots deep into the ground to penetrate hardpan and helping to condition the soil, and some have value as protectors of garden plants.

• • •

An entirely different type of community life is that of fruit and nut trees and the bush and bramble small fruits. For many of this group, the choice of good companions is not only helpful but also essential. Have you ever experienced the disappointment of having a beautiful fruit tree blossom, be visited by the bees, and yet fail to bear? There is a reason, of course, and it lies in pollinization. Pollen is the dust from blossoms that is needed to make the plant fruitful. If the tree is self-unfruitful and there is no pollenizer of the correct type growing near, it is doubtful that the tree will ever bear well. In the chapters on fruit and nut growing, I’ll attempt to unravel some of this mystery, which seems particularly to plague new gardeners and orchardists.

• • •

A note on the chapter devoted to poisonous plants: This information is not meant to frighten but to warn, for most of the nursery catalogs do not tell us which plants are poisonous or to what degree. Even some of the gardening encyclopedias do not.

Cases of death resulting from poisonous plants are rare, but they do happen. In this book I refer to poisonous plants that are useful in the garden for various reasons. It is only fair to tell you that some of those most commonly used may be harmful to children, to livestock, or even to you.

Many of our loveliest and most decorative plants are poisonous — oleanders, daffodils, scillas, lily of the valley, hyacinths, and larkspurs. Other equally poisonous plants are of value for medicines or as insect repellents. To know is to be forewarned, and because we know, we may use them safely, for poisonous plants, unlike poisonous insects or animals, are never aggressive. You are in control of them at all times.

• • •

All of the suggestions given in this book for companion planting are only a beginning. I have included practical information on soil improvement and garden techniques, as well as some sample garden plans, to help you put companion plants to work for you. Your own experiments will lead you into many exciting pathways and discoveries.


Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Parsley planted with asparagus gives added vigor to both. Asparagus also does well with basil, which itself is a good companion for tomatoes. Tomatoes will protect asparagus against asparagus beetles because they contain a substance called solanine. But if asparagus beetles are present in great numbers, they will attract and be controlled by their natural predators, making spraying unnecessary. A chemical derived from asparagus juice also has been found effective on tomato plants as a killer of nematodes, including root-knot, sting, stubby root, and meadow nematodes.

In my garden I grow asparagus in a long row at one side. After the spears are harvested in early spring I plant tomatoes on either side, and find that both plants prosper from the association. Cultivating the tomatoes also keeps down the weeds from the asparagus. The asparagus fronds should never be cut, if at all, until very late in the fall, as the roots need this top growth to enable them to make spears the following spring.

Bean (Phaseolus and Vicia)

Many different kinds of beans have been developed, each with its own lore of good and bad companions. Generally speaking, however, all will thrive when interplanted with carrots and cauliflower, the carrots especially helping the beans to grow. Beans grow well with beets, too, and are of aid to cucumbers and cabbages.

A moderate quantity of beans planted with leek and celeriac will help all, but planted too thickly they have an inhibiting effect, causing all three to make poor growth. Marigolds in bean rows help repel the Mexican bean beetle.

Summer savory with green beans improves their growth and flavor as well as deterring bean beetles. It is also very good to cook with beans.

Beans are inhibited by any member of the Onion family — garlic, shallots, or chives — and they also dislike being planted near gladiolus.

Broad beans are excellent companions with corn, climbing diligently up the cornstalks to reach the light. They not only anchor the corn more firmly, acting as a protection against the wind, but a heavy vine growth may also act as a deterrent to raccoons. Beans also increase the soil’s nitrogen, which is needed by the corn.

Bean, Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Included with bush beans are those known as butter, green, snap, string, and wax beans. All will do well when planted with a moderate amount of celery, about one celery plant to every six or seven of beans.

Bush beans do well also when planted with cucumbers. They are mutually beneficial. Bush beans planted in strawberry rows are mutually helpful, both advancing more rapidly than if planted alone.

Bush beans will aid corn if planted in alternate rows. They grow well with summer savory but never should be planted near fennel. They also dislike onions, as do all beans.

Bean, Lima (Phaseolus limensis)

Nearby locust trees have a good effect on the growth of lima beans. Other plants give them little or no assistance in repelling insects. Never cultivate lima beans when they are wet, because if anthracnose is present, this will cause it to spread. If the ground has sufficient lime and phosphorus, there will probably be little trouble from anthracnose and mildew.

Bean, Pole

Like others of the family, pole beans do well with corn and summer savory. They also have some pronounced dislikes, such as kohlrabi and sunflower. Beets do not grow well with them but radishes and pole beans seem to derive mutual benefit.

Beet (Beta vulgaris)

Beets grow well near bush beans, onions, and kohlrabi but are turned off by pole beans. Field mustard and charlock inhibit their growth. Lettuce and most members of the Cabbage family are friendly to them.

Beets and kohlrabi make good companions. Both take the same kind of culture, and they take soil nourishment at different levels.

Broccoli (Brassica oleraceae)

Like all members of the Cabbage family, broccoli does well with such aromatic plants as dill, celery, camomile, sage, peppermint, and rosemary, and with other vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and onions. Do not plant it with tomatoes, pole beans, or strawberries. Use pyrethrum on broccoli against aphids, before the flower buds open. (See the Pest Control chapter.)

If rabbits dig your cabbage patch, plant any member of the onion family among them. Or you can dust with ashes, powdered aloes, or cayenne pepper. Rabbits also shun dried blood and blood meal.

Cabbage (Brassicaceae)

The cabbage family includes not only cabbage but cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, collards, and Brussels sprouts — even rutabaga and turnip. While each plant of this group has been developed in a special way, they are all pretty much subject to the same likes and dislikes, insects and diseases. Hyssop, thyme, wormwood, and southernwood are helpful in repelling the white cabbage butterfly.

All members of the family are greatly helped by aromatic plants or those that have many blossoms. Good companions are celery, dill, camomile, sage, peppermint, rosemary, onions, and potatoes. Cabbages dislike strawberries, tomatoes, and pole beans.

All members of the family are heavy feeders and should have plenty of compost or well-decomposed cow manure worked into the ground previous to planting. Mulching will help if soil has a tendency to dry out in hot weather, and water should be given if necessary.

Butterflies themselves do no harm and can help pollinate plants. It is their caterpillars that do much damage to the orchard and field crops. The white cabbage butterfly is perhaps the most destructive. Herbs will repel them: hyssop, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, and southernwood.

Cabbage and cauliflower are subject to clubroot, and if this occurs, try new soil in a different part of the garden. Dig to a depth of 12 inches and incorporate plenty of well-rotted manure into the soil. Rotate cabbage crops every two years.

If cabbage or broccoli plants do not head up well, it is a sign that lime, phosphorus, or potash is needed. Boron deficiency may cause the heart of cabbage to die out.

Carrot (Daucus carota)

For sweet-tasting carrots your soil must have sufficient lime, humus, and potash. Too much nitrogen will cause poor flavor, as will a long period of hot weather.

Onions, leeks, and herbs such as rosemary, wormwood, and sage act as repellents to the carrot fly (Psila rosae), whose maggot or larva often attacks the rootlets of young plants. Black salsify (Scorzonera hispanica), sometimes called oyster plant, also is effective in repelling the carrot fly. Use as a mixed crop.

Carrots are good to grow with tomatoes — also with leaf lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, radishes, rosemary, and sage. They have a pronounced dislike for dill. Carrot roots themselves contain an exudate beneficial to the growth of peas.

Apples and carrots should be stored a distance from each other to prevent the carrots from taking on a bitter flavor.

Cauliflower (Brassicaceae)

The white cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae) is repelled if celery plants are grown near the cauliflower, but cauliflower does not like tomatoes or strawberries. Extract from cauliflower seeds inactivates the bacteria causing black rot.

Celeriac (Apium graveolens rapaceum)

A sowing of winter vetch before planting celeriac is helpful, for the plant needs a rich, loose soil with plenty of potassium. The leek, also a potassium lover, is a good companion in alternating rows, as are scarlet runner beans.

Celeriac does not need as much attention as celery since blanching is not necessary, but as the root starts to enlarge, the crown may be helped to better development and higher quality by removing the fine roots and the soil attached to them. Many lateral roots close to the top of the crown tend to make the fleshy part irregular and coarse.

Celery (Apium graveolens)

Celery grows well with leeks, tomatoes, cauliflower, and cabbage, while bush beans and celery seem to give mutual assistance. One gardener believes that celery is particularly benefited if grown in a circle so that the lacy, loosely interwoven roots may make a more desirable home for earthworms and soil microbes. Celery and leeks both grow well when trenched.

Both celery and celeriac are reported to have a hormone that has an effect similar to insulin, making them an excellent seasoning for diabetics or for anyone on a salt-reduced diet.

Celery dinant or French celery dinant is a unique type that sends out a multitude of narrow stalks. I have found it easy to grow here in southern Oklahoma. It has a much fuller flavor than common celery and less should be used in cooking.

This celery is completely insect-free and grows well with all garden vegetables. Plants will freeze in winter but the root does not, and will put out new leaves from the center with the advent of warm spring weather. In a cold climate the leaves may be dried for winter use.

Chayote (Sechium edule)

This is a perennial tropical vine, an annual in colder

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What people think about Carrots Love Tomatoes

23 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Critic reviews

  • A gardening classic. Plot out your garden based on which plants love each other for a better harvest this year. There's also helpful tricks on how to keep bugs away without using harsh chemicals.

    Scribd Editors
  • I love that this book can be read as a bedtime story, cover to cover, or as a search and reference book for specific information. The writing feels like a kind grandmother giving you helpful advice on what you are doing right and wrong in your garden. Riotte's immense knowledge on the subject never gets in the way of her clearly explaining concepts and ideas.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Very good book. Informative and helpful to gardeners. Everyone who gardens should read it.
  • (5/5)
    This book is a classic and chock full of humor-filled advice about organic gardening and companion planting.
  • (5/5)
    An absolutely essential book if you garden at all.
  • (5/5)
    This book is useful if you are interested in planting a variety of items in your garden. It tells which plants benefit each other if you plant them beside each other and explains the benefits. It also tells which plants to avoid planting together and why they should not be side by side. This book will remain on our shelf permanently because it is a wonderful reference for any gardener.
  • (5/5)
    Loved it. Opened the book and before I knew it my pen was in hand marking it up, lots to remember. It does become repetitive in places with items being reused in their companion entries but it is tolerable. It is a fast read and I look forward to the rereading of it to finalize the layout for this springs plantings.